Monday, 29 June 2015

Street View

The three new houses have survived the four hundred mile trip in the post and are being tried out in position on the layout.

So now we have most of one side of the street in position and Oberon Wood, although very obviously unfinished, will be looking a bit more respectable the next time the layout is on show in September.

With the row complete Himself can now adjust the road to its final position.

It would appear that it needs to be shifted a little towards the side of number 21 - that's the unpainted house on the far left - but it wasn't a bade guess.

Here's the view from the operators' side looking across at the row of back gardens.

Not a bad effort for such an unusual collection of houses I think.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Face Off

The other side of the observation compartment on number 11 is finished now.

I'm always stuck by the way these two sets of seats face each other across the carriage - it's rather redolent of the trains on the London tube and Glasgow underground.

Or perhaps the inspiration wasn't taken from railway practice but the House of Commons?  It looks familiar, doesn't it, with those two forward (or backward?) facing seats by the bulkhead.

When the next generation of FR observation carriages were built, starting with 100, they had individual swivelling seats taking full advantage of the more generous loading gauge but, as I've written before, I think the cosy inside of 11 has got much more atmosphere.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Mersey Seat

I've spent a few days prevaricating about getting started on the interior for number 11 mainly on account of knowing that I was unlikely to have an opportunity in the near future to get it done in a oner.

Quite often I find knowing that I am unlikely to be able to get much done in a modelling session is a disincentive to get started in the first place.

Am I alone in that, I wonder?

Anyhow, the other night I told myself to stop faffing about and get on with it.

I didn't have very long and what time I did have was interrupted by getting the kids to bed and making the dinner, but this is what I managed to produce.

In case you didn't get the reference in the title, when number 11 was converted into an Observation Carriage in 1958 it was fitted with some ex-Mersey Rail seats, the ones at the observation end were fixed lengthways at either side.

Until the last overhaul there was a block of 4 seats on either side but it was always rather snug - and they do say that the average British tourist has become bulkier since the 1950's - so two seats have been sacrificed and a little breathing space created between them.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Panel Games

With the track in position, the point motors installed and the tangle of diodes in place to work them Himself has turned his attention to the final control panels for the fiddle yards.

(At previous exhibitions we were using a temporary controller and hand operated points)

The idea is to make it as idiot-proof as possible and he has stuck on the track diagram at the Caernarfon end.

The point and section switches can be seen in the photo, what he has still to fit is the LEDs which will indicate which road has been selected.

I fear that despite all the wizardry come the first exhibition head-on collisions will still be inevitable...

Labelled up the Caernarfon end fiddle yard this afternoon. Will still have to put some LED in for indicating the road that has been set, that will have to be done later..

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Twelfth Night

I managed to put in a couple of hours work the other evening to assemble the parts of number 12 into a body shell and fit the chassis and roof so it looks like a carriage now.

Before I could do that, however, I had to make up the corridor connections on the guard's van end which are rather unusual and more of a challenge to model that normal.

Perhaps because of the heritage value of the carriage / van (?) the usual side guards formed of a plank of wood with a folded rubber section are not mounted directly to the woodwork at the end of the carriage but instead are hinged on metal frames so they sit clear of the body work.

I don't know the reason why. I wonder if it is to make them easier to remove, or the mounting points less obtrusive, so the carriage can be turned out with a more heritage appearance when required?

Maybe someone who knows could enlighten us?

Anyway, the main issue for me was how to replicate this feature?

I decided in the end to drill holes into the styrene and insert short lengths of 0.5mm brass wire and drill more holes in the end of the carriage, very carefully so they lined up accurately, so they would sit proud of the body shell.

I also managed to find the time fit the roof skin to number 11 as well.

Interiors next, I think.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Eleventh Hour

Number 11 is, and I suspect will always be, my favourite FR carriage. It has an air of nobility about it and always looks so cosy.

First time passengers would probably say 'cramped' rather than 'cosy', I suspect, and there's an irrefutable logic in the FR's move towards palaces on wheels like the new observation car 150.

But, as I say, I have a soft spot for dear old 11, which has been in semi-retirement now for the best part of a quarter of a century, so I was very pleased to resume work on my latest model of it the other day.

I retrieved the pieces from the photo album where they'd been kept for the last couple of months and glued up the basic body rectangle and cut out the floor and false ceiling.

The album had protected them well but there was only so much it could do to resist the solvent which had inevitably put a slight curl into the bodysides.

This had been slightly complicated at the guards compartment ends where the resin duckets had been superglued into place and the chemicals all got a little confused.

Fortunately most of the curl goes 'in the way' and when the floor and roof are in position they force the bodysides to straighten out.

The next task is to add the roof skin and then probably begin work on the interior which was revised at the last rebuild to make the observation end even more spacious!

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Return To Rolling Stock

I've had enough of houses for the moment, I need a break from buildings.

So with an evening to myself I thought I'd make a start on the interior for our new number 16, which has been built up from a Worsley Works brass body kit.

I got on so well that, as you can see, it was finished after just two and a half hours work which goes to show two things:

a) How fiddly and time consuming scratch building these houses has been.


b) How much modelling you can get done on the rare occasions when the rest of the family are either out or asleep in bed!

I have been given designs for two more of the Oberon Wood houses but I think next I will return to finish off carriages 11 & 12.

The sides and ends have been built and have spent the last couple of months being squashed in a photo album to keep them flat.

It would be nice if I could finish off the construction and persuade Himself to expedite their passage through the paint shop in time September when we take both layouts to the WHR Super Power even.

That way we'll have a set of 11 & 12 to run on each of the layouts.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Just Guttering To Go

I'm getting very close to being able to declare number 21 finished - at least as far as construction is concerned.

The task for the last couple of days was to add on the foundations set it at the correct height against the two others which are joined on.

And here's the evidence with a sequence of pictures taken from all around them.

What do you think?

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Nearly Done

That's the roof ready on number 21 now.

The only major structural piece which is still missing is the chimney which is positioned on the North wall of the house, just above the left hand side of the gallery window as you look from the back.

Once again this view from the front shows how this house had to be made with a large chunk taken out of the front right hand corner so it would overlap with number 22, which is one of the reasons that it has been the trickiest one to build so far.

Before I get on with adding the guttering I need to add on the 'foundations' so that it sits at the correct height relative to the other two houses.

This is not entirely straightforward because before that I've got to cut down number 22 by around 10mm to reset it against number 23 which was butchered by Himself to fit in with his existing woodwork.

It's getting all rather complicated.

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Gallery Window

Before I get too much of the roof done there's a very tricky, and very important, bit of the house to add on - the long gallery window at the back.

A couple of the houses along the row in front of Goat Cutting have this very distinctive feature.

The way I tackle it is to fabricate what is basically a ladder from styrene strip which I glue into position before fixing the slab of roofing slates on top.

Because these window are tucked up under the slates like this the overhang gives the impression that the panes are almost a square shape, but of course they're not.

Now that this bit's done I can really begin to see the finishing line of this project.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Starting On The Roof

Another one of those great leaps forward on the house build today - getting the first bit of the roof on.

This wasn't something I was looking forward to very much because number 21 has one of the most complicated bits of roof I've had to build on the estate so far.

I've decided to tackle it head one, though, and begun with the piece that forms the garage roof.

The tricky bit is that it has to include the small, thin, tongue which fills the little gully between the two halves of the house and an area which extends to the right hand side.

It took some careful and methodical measuring, and a lot of fine trimming, to get it to fit but the vital thing was to ensure that it was not cut short anywhere with resultant gaps - not just because of waste of time but also because I've only got just enough Wills slate sheets into stock to complete the roof on this house!

I'm quite satisfied with how it's turned out.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

The Matrix

I'm not the only one who has been given a headache by this layout in recent weeks.

This time it's been Himself's turn.

He's been trying to remember how he made the point routing system for the fiddle yards on Dduallt more than 20 years ago.

Eventually he managed to find two Railway Modeller articles on a 'Push Button Routing System' which were in the October and November 1974 editions and the spidery circuit diagrams that he used.

Nothing but cutting edge technology on this layout!

If you're looking to make these for yourself the main components are some copper clad strip board and diodes.

He tells me there's 1 board for the 6 routes and the other for the output to the 5 point motors (2 coils each)

The diodes are wired between them to form a matrix logic system which fires the points for a set route.

Here is one of the units made up.

The red wires are from the rotary switch for the 6 roads, the yellow and white go to the point coils.

What they will control is this:

A couple of the points will have have to be switch operated - the furthest kick-back siding point and the loco release points at the ends of the sidings.

Now he's got to finish wiring it all up and see if it works!

Friday, 5 June 2015

Two Steps Back

I've had one of those moments when you realise there's something very wrong with a model and there's no alternative but to rip it apart, fix it, and put it back together.

The bit in question was the southern gable wall of the new house and it was the windows I was unhappy with.

When I looked at one our research pictures up close it seemed to me that they were simply far too small.

Fortunately it was relatively easy to slice down the joints and detach the gable wall to fix it.

The first stage was to remove the existing window details and widen the holes.

In the case of the small windows in the garage they needed to be square shaped rather than rectangular and one of them had to be filled in and a new opening made.

Then the frame detail was renewed..

And it was fixed back into position.

I also took the opportunity to greatly increase the depth of the window on the side of the extension - I had underestimated its size as well when I made it.

The whole process took about two days but it's worth it because otherwise it would have become one of those niggles that gnaws away at you.

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Connecting It Up

The point motors have been fitted to the upper end fiddle yard and are in the process of being wired up

The five points controlling access to the 6 main storage roads will be operated by rotary switch and button via a CDU unit and diode matrix board.

Himself built some of these over 20 or so years ago for Dduallt.

They're still working perfectly and on the basis of 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' he's intending to use the same circuitry again.

Monday, 1 June 2015

3 In A Row

With the structure of the third house coming along nicely I thought I would try posing them together to get an impression of how they're going to look.

Although they have the appearance of separate houses all three are, in fact, linked in some degree to one another.

The change in the ground level as you move along the cul de sac is apparent from this view from the front.

Whether they will remain as separate units when they are placed on the layout or are bonded together into one block remains to be seen.

I leave those kind of decisions to Himself to make.